Author Archives: Ralph Clevenger

Ralph Cle­venger grew up on the coast of North Africa and began div­ing in the waters of the Mediter­ranean Sea at the age of 7 with his father. He even­tu­ally went on to study zool­ogy at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity and worked as a diver/biologist for the Scripps Insti­tu­tion of Oceanog­ra­phy in La Jolla, Cal­i­for­nia before attend­ing Brooks Insti­tute of Pho­tog­ra­phy. He holds a BS degree in zool­ogy and a BA degree in pho­tog­ra­phy. Ralph is the author of Pho­tograph­ing Nature, pub­lished by New Riders.

My Favorite Photos of 2017

A selection of my favorite photos from last year.
The first full year without
Brooks Institute of Photography
in the world since 1945.

 

The time we spend traveling in our “bubble” provides balance in our life.

 

Watched light do amazing things in the mountains and valleys of the Grand Tetons.

 

Spent time in the warmth of an ecolodge in the rainforests of Costa Rica.

 

One of my favorites from our travels this year. Sloths are so adapted to their environment.

 

Worked on my food and beverage photography. Many thanks to the master, Bill Robbins.

 

Had a lot of fun photographing this 8 year old.
I hope to photograph her every year and watch her change.

 

I wonder if seals and sea lions can tell if a human is male or female.

 

Found incredible beauty in the shapes of living things.

Camp Denali Workshop — 2018

I’ll be at Camp Denali from August 27 — September 2, 2018, leading their Autumn Nature Photography Workshop.  To find out more, click here: Camp Denali Special Emphasis Series 2018

Upcoming Workshops

May 6, 2017 — Close‐up Photography Workshop

 

August 10–13, 2017 — Photographing Mermaids

My Favorite Photos of 2016

Here is a selection of my favorite photos from last year.  It was an interesting year.

I was doing most of the marketing photography for Brooks Institute.
The school was shut down in October.

I photographed strong, graceful and talented women.

I found a sleeping mermaid.  Been looking for a long time.

I went on a night dive in Hawai’i with 7 manta rays.
It was way more exciting than I thought it would be.

I paid a lot of attention to light and the magic of Lightroom.

I spent hours with a lizard, looking for something different.

I watched an extraordinary man with a kite and a surfboard do things
with the wind and waves that I didn’t think possible.

Light & Motion LED’s — part 2

The Light & Motion Stella LED lights are equally at home above and below the water. Most lights made for use underwater can’t be used above the water because of overheating but you can take the Stella’s from water to air and back without even thinking. This is one of the things that makes the Stella’s such a boon to creative lighting.

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The over/under image (left) has a Stella 2000 above and a Stella 5000 below to create a very even lighting pattern in this portrait of a yoga instructor. One of my students, Ella DeGea, lit this great underwater portrait (right) with a Stella 5000 and put a Stella 2000 in the background to create that water “ceiling” reflection behind him.

Since the LED’s aren’t as powerful as flashes, I needed a pretty low ambient to ensure that you could see the effect of the Stella lights.

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We did this pool shoot in the evening and hung a Stella 2000 down into the water from the diving board as a back light. The key light in both images was a Stella 5000 with a 50° Fresnel and I used a Stella 1000 for additional light. Unlike flash you can see the light so it’s easy to feather the beam to get exactly what you want. Yoga swimming image: ISO 800, f/6.3, 1/80th second with Sony A7R2, 16–35mm lens in a Sea & Sea housing.

Photographing in the ocean adds a lot more difficulty, especially in the cooler waters of southern California.

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We lit the mermaid from camera right with 2 Stella 5000’s and back lit her with a Stella 2000. A foggy morning provided the low ambient lighting environment. Coordinating the positioning of two lighting assistants, getting the mermaid to pose while holding her breath, while I’m trying to stay neutrally buoyant and having to come to the surface every minute, makes these images really challenging. My mermaid had the hardest job, and she was amazing. Mermaid image: ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/320th sec with Sony A7R2, 16–35mm lens in a Sea & Sea housing.